Thursday, July 7, 2016

Something to Know - 7 July

Stuart Carlson

Too much information and news to absorb from the last few days?   Yes, I agree.  So where to go from here?   Some may want to stay stuck on Dumbald Drumpf and his latest screed where he demonstrates his mental instability ( ).   Or you can get stuck with the GeeOpie snoops who unwind from "Benghazi" and get bent back around Hillary's email problem, only to find that that is all going to be Tabloid Journalism fodder for a while.  Read this and wait for the next round.  Sooner or later the essence of our future should be the subject:

The Opinion Pages |   CAMPAIGN STOPS

The Big News About What We Already Knew
Andrew Rosenthal JULY 6, 2016

Now is the summer of unrevealing revelations.

After years of work, in one case seven years, the world has been treated to three reports on matters of great import that offer precious little new or useful information.

The longest-running investigation was conducted by John Chilcot, a retired British civil servant, who took 2.6 million words to report that Prime Minister Tony Blair helped President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney mislead their countries into a war with Iraq in 2003 that was one of the most damaging blunders in history.

Chilcot said the intelligence on Iraq was wrong, that diplomatic and military preparations were bungled, that dissenting voices were stifled, and that Blair blindly followed Bush's lead.

On July 28, 2002, Blair sent Bush a note that read, "I will be with you, whatever." He actually thought giving Bush a blank check was a good idea?

That was an act of colossal bad judgment that showed, among other things, an insularity and inattention to public opinion by Blair that is shocking for a politician of his stature and experience.

But we knew that, which brings us to Hillary Clinton and the other two reports.

One was a partisan and pointless investigation by a House committee into the Benghazi nightmare that was intended to show that Clinton was directly responsible for the murders of the American ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.

About all it showed was that American politicians are craven, and that the country's diplomats were woefully unprotected — to a significant degree because Congress deprived the diplomatic protection service of money.

The other investigation, sparked by a request from Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, for Clinton's emails, focused on her use of a private email server. The probe was legitimate once Clinton's use of the private server was disclosed. It was conducted appropriately by the F.B.I., whose director, James B. Comey, announced the results on Tuesday.

Here is what it showed us about Clinton: She has an elevated sense of entitlement, even for a politician, that would be the envy of any hipster millennial. She is self-protective to the point of paranoia. And she is tone-deaf about her public image.

If there are Americans who didn't know these things already, they had to have been vacationing in Antarctica for the last 25 years.

My point is not to excuse Clinton's use of the private email server, although there is zero chance that Gowdy would have been so eager to investigate a Republican. His purpose was to snarl President Obama with subpoenas and to use his investigative authority to thwart Clinton's presidential ambitions.

But the F.B.I. found no evidence that Clinton's servers were breached by hackers (a clear risk), that she set out to violate security laws or that information was conveyed to hostile groups or governments.

Comey found, The Times reported, that two emails had information marked as classified at the time. One was about the impending resignation of Kofi Annan as secretary general of the United Nations, and the other about a call Clinton was going to make to the president of Malawi. Making that sort of thing top secret is more about avoiding embarrassment than protecting national security.

The vast majority of the sensitive information in the Clinton emails was not marked as classified. And it has been widely reported that a lot of it was about Obama's killing-by-drone operation, which Obama should never have kept secret for so long.

The lack of security notations on those emails was no excuse, as Comey rightly pointed out. And it makes Clinton's insistence that she didn't use the servers for classified information seem too cute by half.

But too cute by half is a Clinton trademark. You have to wonder if anyone on her team has the authority, or courage, to tell her when she is doing something that she will later regret.

Clinton has never adequately explained her decision to use a private email server, but we can guess that it had to do with her insecurity, her belief that Republicans are out to get her (they are) and her lack of skill at managing her public relations.

She has had these problems for as long as she's been in the national eye. In January, 1995, Clinton invited a group of women who wrote about White House social events, gossip and personal advice to lunch, to ask their help in squaring her public image with the way she viewed herself.

"I am surprised at the way people seem to perceive me," she said at the lunch, "and sometimes I read stories and hear things about me and I go 'ugh.' I wouldn't like her either."

One of those who attended, the Times food writer Marian Burros, wrote a front-page article about the lunch. The first lady and her staff went bananas. They attacked Marian, and they attacked The Times. Their reasons were unclear, but they managed to take a sympathetic narrative and make it about Clinton's neuroses.

"I didn't get this whole image creation thing," Clinton said at the lunch. "I see what it can do but I'm not sure I get it."

Does she now, at last? Certainly, of all the politicians in all the world, Clinton was the last one who should have used a private email server.

That lack of judgment about herself, about how people perceive her, is perhaps her greatest weakness as a candidate. And if, as I fervently hope, she beats Donald Trump in November, it will be one of her greatest challenges as president. Hillary Clinton should know by now that she can't hide in plain sight.


Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association  aid and abet violence.

- An American Story

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